Car Review

2011 GMC Canyon: Used Car Review

See all GMC Canyon articles
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Karma cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs MAZDA cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs

author photo by Ron Sessions January 2015

The 2011 GMC Canyon is available as a 2- or 3-passenger regular cab, a 4- or 5-passenger extended cab, or a 5- or 6-passenger crew cab. The regular cab has two doors, and the crew cab has four. The extended cab offers two full-size front doors and a pair of rear-hinged half-length rear doors with two fold-down rear jump seats. The regular and extended cabs come with a 6.1-foot bed, while the crew cab uses a 5.1-foot bed. Both rear- and 4-wheel drive (4WD) are offered. Safety gear includes 4-wheel anti-lock brakes, dual-stage front airbags, StabiliTrak stability and traction control, and head-curtain airbags. The lowered ZQ8 sport suspension and the off-road-oriented Z71 continued to be options in the 2011 models. An optional 5.3-liter V8, which bumps tow capacity to 6,000 pounds, was also available on 2011 models. New for 2011 were redesigned front headrests, standard Bluetooth and OnStar 9.0 with improved voice recognition.

What We Like

Maneuverable size; V8 performance; roomy front seats; smooth-shifting transmissions; configurable tailgate

What We Don't

Cheap-looking dash and door trim; ride harshness; no navigation system; small rear jump seats on extended cab

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2011 GMC Canyon is available with a 2.9-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 4-cylinder, a 3.7-liter DOHC 5-cylinder or a 5.3-liter OHV V8.

The base 2.9-liter 4-cylinder engine develops 185 horsepower and 190 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel. Two-wheel-drive (2WD) versions are rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at 18 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway with the standard 5-speed manual or optional 4-speed automatic. Four-wheel-drive versions have an 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy rating with the manual gearbox and 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy with the automatic.

Standard on 4WD crew cabs and 2WD Z71 models, and optional for all other Canyons, the 3.7-liter inline 5-cylinder engine makes 242 hp and 242 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded. A 4-speed automatic transmission is standard with the 5-cylinder engine. Two-wheel-drive versions with the 5-speed manual, as well as 4WD regular and extended cabs with an automatic transmission, are EPA-rated at 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy, while 4WD crew cabs with the automatic get a 16 mpg city/22 mpg hwy rating.

A 5.3-liter V8 is optional on extended and crew cabs. It produces 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque and has an EPA rating of 14 mpg city/20 mpg hwy with 2WD and 14 mpg city/19 mpg hwy with 4WD. The V8 can run on E85 or regular unleaded fuel.

Standard Features & Options

The 2011 GMC Canyon comes in WT, SLE and SLT trims.

The WT trim comes with a 2-speaker AM/FM radio, a cloth front bench seat, 16-inch steel wheels, air conditioning, intermittent wipers, a center armrest, a leather-wrapped tilt steering wheel, automatic headlamps, cruise control, carpeting and folding outside mirrors.

Moving up to SLE adds fog lamps, 16-in alloy wheels, color-keyed trim, a 4-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo, upgraded cloth seats, bright interior accents, cloth door trim inserts, OnStar communication and SiriusXM satellite radio. The SLE can also be optioned with remote keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-heated front bucket seats, leather seat trim, a 6-disc CD player, a power sunroof, a sliding rear window and power windows, mirrors and door locks.

The top SLT trim typically includes power front bucket seats, a 6-speaker stereo, automatic transmission and power windows, mirrors and door locks.

The Z71 package, available with 2WD and 4WD Canyons, includes 265/75-15 on-/off-road tires, increased ground clearance, wheel flares, brushed aluminum side steps and off-road suspension with monotube shocks.

The street-performance ZQ8 package is available only on 2WD extended cabs and crew cabs. It's paired with the 5.3-liter V8 and adds a lowered sport suspension, a quicker steering gear, a power steering cooler and 235/50 performance tires on 18-in alloy wheels.


Regular-cab 2WD 4-cylinder SLE models can be inexpensive, but be prepared to pay double for V8 models or clean 4WD 5-cylinder crew cabs with the SLT trim or the Z71 package.

To get a good idea of what a used 2011 Canyon pickup costs, check out the used-car values at You can also search the AutoTrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2011 Canyon:

A defective rear-axle cross pin can loosen and lock up the rear axle at speed, creating a control issue and crash risk.

The windshield wiper crank arm nut can loosen, making the wipers ineffective and impairing forward visibility.

On Canyons with the 2.9- or 3.7-liter engine, a loose clip may cause the gear indicator to display the Park position even though the transmission is in another gear, allowing the vehicle to roll away if it's parked on a grade.

Regular- and extended-cab models with a 60/40-split front bench seat lack access to a top anchor to tether a child-restraint device in the middle-seat position.

A missing secondary hood latch could allow the hood to open at speed, obstructing forward vision and increasing the risk of a crash.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, will fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA did not rate the 2011 Canyon for frontal or side impacts, but gave it four stars for rollover performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the 2011 Canyon crew cab as Acceptable for moderate-overlap front impacts, Poor for side impacts and Marginal for roof performance. However, it gave the Canyon extended cab a Good rating for front impacts.

GMC covered the 2011 Canyon with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

GMC certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be no more than 5 years old. Every CPO Canyon undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains on the transferable, original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Also included is a 2-year/24,000-mile maintenance plan with roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2011 Ford Ranger -- The smaller Ford Ranger offers an impressive 22 mpg city/27 mpg hwy EPA rating with its base 143-hp 2.3-liter 4-cylinder engine. A 148-hp 3.0-liter V6 and a 207-hp 4.0-liter V6 deliver added oomph. The Ranger is available in regular and extended (Super) cab only. Max tow capacity is 5,680 pounds.

2011 Toyota Tacoma -- The top-selling Tacoma offers a 159-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or a 236-hp 4.0-liter V6 and numerous configurations to choose from, with regular, Access (extended) and Double (crew) cabs, a lowered X-Runner sport truck and TRD Off-Road available. Max tow capacity is 6,500 pounds.

AutoTrader's Advice

The midsize Canyon pickup is a sensible choice for light-duty use that doesn't involve hauling big payloads or towing heavy trailers. Although regular-cab models offer the greatest parking and maneuverability advantages, extended- and crew-cab models provide far more interior space and will retain the best resale value. Look for a certified pre-owned or lower-mileage example that's seen obvious care. Avoid modified trucks and get a report of the vehicle's history. Make sure that all applicable safety recalls have been performed.

Find a GMC Canyon for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2011 GMC Canyon: Used Car Review - Autotrader